Dorade Royale – Christmas is Coming

Come Christmas Tide, I’m drawn towards rich aromas, spices and toasted citrus fruit, food that radiates warmth and generosity. A ripe full skirted woman, rather than a light girl with a spring in her step. Now fish traditionally is rather on the light girl with a spring in her step side, but that doesn’t mean one can’t dress it in a bit of a more full skirted way. In fact, star aniseed and oranges are perfect matches even for white fish. Thick fish like seabass, dorade, or cabillaud. Wonderfully Christmassy. 

What you’ll need

  • I usually count one dorade royale for two persons, scaled and emptied
  • One half orange per fish
  • Ground star aniseed
  • A table spoon of sea salt
  • Pink peppercorns, ground
  • Fleur de sel
  • A bouquet of garden herbs, for example fennel, sage, lemon thyme and rosemary

How to cook it

About 90minutes before serving, prepare a marinade from orange juice, ground star aniseed, salt and pepper and let the fish marinade for about 45 minutes. I find it easiest to make a couple of cuts and let the fish soak wrapped tightly into plastic wrap. 

Preheat the oven to 180°C with the fan. Wash off the marinade and fill its belly with a whiff of fleur de sel, a slice of orange and some star aniseed. Put the bouquet on top and transfer to a baking tray laid out with parchment paper. Cook in the oven for twenty five minutes. 

How to eat it

With parsley potatoes and a little wintry ratatouille and, why not, a glass of a Meursault, a perfect Christmas combo. 

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